Bad lies and fake interviews

Tomorrow's Business

Here’s a spam email I keep getting “We are pleased to inform you that having received your signed documentation we have processed your case to the next stage. We have sent your details to Natwest…”

This is PPI spam. It is made up. I haven’t sent any documentation. I haven’t made a PPI claim. I have never banked with NatWest.

As lies go, it isn’t very good.

The flak equivalent goes like this: “The news desk/editor told us they want you to do an interview with/story on our client Jim Bob…”

It seems implausible that either of them would tell you that but not me. So it’s an obvious lie. One very easy to check.

I think the flaks here, mostly younger sorts, are imagining news rooms to be huge, like in the movies, where messages can easily get lost or misconstrued.

They are more likely to be cramped little places where desks of reporters – sport, news, business, features – sit together in huddled spaces. We can and do hear each other and talk to each other.

So the helpless flak line is debunked very quickly. If I thought it remotely likely the news editor had taken to commissioning pieces via PR firms, it would take ten seconds to check. “Hey, did you tell Hopeless Flaks Inc you wanted a piece on Jim Bob?” “Erm, no. Why on earth would I have done that?”

Even aside from this being a dishonest tactic, it is very hard to see how it can ever work.


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